Ira Glass seems to have coined (or popularised) the idea of the taste-skill gap. Here’s an extract from the original interview (video below) – the whole thing is great. Recommended.
Nobody tells people who are beginners – and I really wish someone had told this to me – is that… all of us who do creative work we get into it, and we get into it because we have good taste. Like, you want to make TV because you love TV. Because there’s stuff that you just love.
So you’ve got really good taste, and you get into this thing, that – I don’t even know how to describe it – it’s like there’s a gap. That for the first couple of years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not that good. But your taste is still killer.
And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you… you can tell that it’s still sort of crappy. A lot of people never get past that phase. A lot of people at that point, they quit.
And the thing that I would like to say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell that what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. They knew that it fell short… that it didn’t have the special thing that we wanted it to have.
And the thing I would say to you is, everybody goes through that. And for you to go through it, if you’re going through it right now, if you’re just getting out that phase, or you’re just starting off and you’re entering into that phase, you’ve got to know that it’s totally normal, and the most important possible thing that you can do is do a lot of work, do a huge volume of work… [Put yourself] in a situation where you have to churn out the work, because it’s only by actually going through a volume of work that you actually then catch up and close that gap, and the work that you’re making will be as good as our ambitions.Ira Glass – On Storytelling
Here’s a nice artistic visualisation of Glass’ words about taste and talent by Daniel Say: